Do you know the last time you felt proud of yourself?
Isn’t that an interesting question? What did you hear inside when you read that? Did it feel like an appropriate question? Did you flinch a little, think it’s an unseemly idea, self-pride?
I feel like in adult life it is used more in a negative sense, like, “Are you proud of yourself now?” Said with scorn, over the steaming pile of argument aftermath. Whereas for my son, I use it as the highest compliment, usually with tears in my eyes. “Aren’t you proud of yourself, Zack? YOU did that, YOU did,” for his first report card ever (yes, ever) with no negative points or comments on his behavior and (lack of) self-control.
But I am feeling proud of myself, at the ripe young age of 44, and I am going to claim it.
December 9 I was drowning in pain. And it so was not pretty. So deeply unpretty that I hate to put it all down here, so I could stare at it directly, measure its sprawling size and strength, like mapping a hurricane. Storm Stacy, registering as a 5.
And now, not even two months later, I am free. By my own hand. A blizzard is bearing down on my city, but I am calm. And proud.
Everything I learned in the aftermath of my divorce was tested. Everything I so painstakingly wrote down and recorded, in 100,000 much-considered words, was thrown into fresh doubt. Aside from being devastated, I felt like a failure. I could not live the very truths I had codified, the very truths I believe to my core.
Except, I did.
But this time around I had to learn that even hard-earned wisdom can’t protect me from life’s pain.
But I paid attention, I stayed open to Derek (when I so desperately didn’t want to), I kept asking questions, questions without angles, I listened to the answers. And once again, I learned what I needed to set myself free. I ransacked the kitchen drawer of our shared memories and experiences as individuals in a couple, in front of him, and with him, and then at one point, enough junk moved out of the way, Derek was able to reach in and hand me the key.
The key is my aha, my “secret,” a connection to a truth about myself I had never before seen, that I’m still turning over in my mind, slowly attaching to words.
And all that will continue to unfold, leading me toward the peace in the center of my being.
But for now I am calm, and proud. And so happy to be a human who keeps learning.